Day By Day

Saturday, September 11, 2010

A Realistic View of the Internet

Trevor Butterworth has a terrific piece in Forbes on the social and ethical implications of the internet. He is, quite rightly, reacting against Princeton philosopher Peter Singer who has naively proclaimed the internet to be a transformative phenomenon that, by making information available to all, will magically liberate mankind [here].

Butterworth makes some excellent points:
The great transformation has already taken place and is comparable in scale to what took place in Renaissance Italy or the Scottish Enlightenment.

It has not been anti-corporate or particularly liberating.

Utopian philosophical speculation may be sexy, but it is no substitute for hard work in the trenches of historical research.

Technology is not science. It is more closely related to moral philosophy and should be understood as such.

We need to understand in harshly realistic terms just what the social effects of the internet are and what they are not.
Read the article here, and check out some of the people he references. It's well worth the effort.

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